Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Crimes At Puzzel Manor - Simon Brett

Summary:  Oh, Holy Fright!

There's a Christmas corpse under the mistletoe this year...and if you can solve each of the nineteen puzzles you can catch the killer!

You are cordially invited to a Christmas holiday at gorgeous Puzzel Manor...all expenses paid.  Except the real cost is a game of murder!

So get ready for the plum pudding and a silent, most unholy night...as a snowstorm cuts you off from the outside world and a mysterious Christmas contest of crime begins.  The rules are dead simple.  Solve the puzzles and a serial killer called The Executive Executioner is nabbed at last.  The first clue is right at hand...next to the shattered body of a corpse.

Here's all you have to do: 

Sit back and enjoy a great Simon Brett mystery.

Be alert for crossword puzzles, anagrams, scrambled words, riddles, and assorted brainteasers in each of the nineteen clues. 

Use your IQ to catch a killer PDQ before your Christmas goose is cooked...in a Yuletide treat for all who know 'tis the season to deduce whodunit!  (Summary from back of the book and image from http://www.bookfever.com/

My Review:  Jack is a retired detective, forced into retirement by a bullet to the hip that has left him wheelchair bound. He is on vacation at Puzzel Manor when his worst nightmare, the person who forced him into retirement makes an appearance yet again, one meant just to torment him. 

Although the book summary makes you think you'll be the protagonist in the story, and you do get to figure things out on your own as you read, you're actually following Jack Tarrant and his girlfriend Maria Lethbury.  I thought I'd figured out whodunit, but I was definitely wrong!  It has a great twist, lots of confusing puzzles, and enough character development to keep me engaged throughout.  It's not your typical Christmas read, but it was fun nonetheless. 

My Rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: Hinted at intimacy and parts that suggest a sexual relationship between Jack and Maria.  Otherwise, it was fairly clean.

Sum it up: A great mystery with lots of puzzles and twists.

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